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Michigan commercial fishers are suing the state

"Asian carp commercial fishing trip at Starved Rock" by usacechicago is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The remaining 13 commercial fishers in Michigan are suing the state.

That’s after the Department of Natural Resources announced major changes that could put the state’s whitefish industry out of business.

New rules from the DNR set major limits on how commercial fishers can operate.

They restrict fishing to a depth of 80 feet of water and close the Lake Michigan whitefish season in October, among other changes.

This comes after legislation that would have updated commercial fishing law failed to pass the State Senate last year.

Dennis VanLandschoot, president of a fishery based in Munising said his fish market would not be viable under these conditions.

“I’m out of business… we won’t even put out boats in the lake," said VanLandschoot.

Other fishers like Robert Ruleau III in Menominee say they might be able to scrape by, but he doesn’t know for how long.

His fishing license hasn’t been renewed this year, otherwise he would be fishing right now.

"I’m losing tens of thousands of dollars a day right now by not being able to fish," said Ruleau.

The DNR would not comment on the lawsuit.